OUTRAGE: Sturgeon claims leave voters are XENOPHOBIC

OUTRAGE: Sturgeon claims leave voters are XENOPHOBIC

The First Minister of Scotland has been on the receiving end of a stern slapdown over her Brexit proposals for Scotland which would see the country kept in the single market despite the rest of Britain leaving.

She had gone on the offensive by claiming it was “democratically unacceptable” to be taken out of the EU, despite Britain voting, democratically, to leave the European Union.

She wrote: “For Scotland fifth vote overwhelmingly to stay in Europe and yet still be faced with being dragged out of the EU against our will is democratically unacceptable.”

In a swipe at Brexit voters, the SNP leader said the backlash against the establishment was fuelled by racism.

She added: “The last 12 months have seen a narrative develop that the established political and social order is under threat as never before in modern times.

“Reactionary forces, some of them fuelled by intolerance and xenophobia, have been seen to be in the ascendency.”

Writing in The National, she added: “The proposals we have published – which would allow Scotland to remain in the single market in what has been described as the “Norway-style” option, are not without their challenges or complexities.

“I do not pretend that it will be easy – but this is not a situation of our making, and we are the first and so far only government in the UK to bring forward concrete proposals in the wake of the Brexit vote.”

But Daniel Kenealy, a lecturer in devolution and the EU at the University of Edinburgh Lecturer, dismissed Ms Sturgeon’s plan for Scotland after Article 50 has been triggered as merely “an exercise in creative thinking”.

He wrote: “The proposal [for Scotland to join the EEA via EFTA and staying as part of the UK] is all-but-impossible and the legal, political and technical barriers standing in the way of it are high, and almost certainly insurmountable.”

Mr Kenealy’s blog for the London School of Economics briefly outlines some of the main problems Scotland would face.

– Scotland would have to be an independent state to be able to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

– To meet the conditions of EEA and EFTA membership virtually all areas of Scotland’s policies would have to be devolved, including immigration, employment law and business regulations

– While EEA agreements have allowed for some bending of the rules, as with Denmark and the Faroe Islands, Sturgeon’s comparison of Scotland with a population of 5.3 million to the small island group is “stretching the sinews of credibility

Overall, he dismissed the entire SNP proposals as “dishonest” and “shallow in terms of policy”.

Mr Kenealy surmises the reasons for Ms Sturgeon’s stance, even though clearly impossible, is down to “politics” and he claims it to be “politically savvy” and a move to try to secure a second independence referendum.

He said: “The proposal is all-but-impossible and the legal, political, and technical barriers standing in the way of it are high, and almost certainly insurmountable.

“It is telling that Charles Grant – a member of Nicola Sturgeon’s Standing Council on Europe and a man who understands Brussels as well as anyone – labelled it ‘very hard to make work’.”